Teacher Tang Yuling will accompany you to read The Analects 37
37.Book 2 Wei Zheng (Of Governance), Chapter 20
Ji Kang asked how to cause the people to reverence their ruler, to be faithful to him, and to go on to nerve themselves to virtue. The Master said, “Let him preside over them with gravity; then they will reverence him. Let him be final and kind to all; then they will be faithful to him. Let him advance the good and teach the incompetent; then they will eagerly seek to be virtuous.”
Highlights of this lecture include:
1. Historical Background
Ji Kangzi季康子was the most powerful minister of Lu and head of the Jisun季孫clan, one of the notorious Three Families that ran the state. The Jisun Family had dominated Lu’s political scene for five generations ever since Ji Wenzi, Ji Wuzi, Ji Pingzi, Ji Huanzi and succeeded by Ji Kangzi. At the time of Ji Kangzi, the Jisun Family mastered one-half of the tax revenue, one-half of the army of Lu. He usurped Lu State power and didn’t take the Duke of Lu seriously. Setting the bad example, Jisun Family’s distorted moral standards brought bad influences to the people, the state of Lu was prevailed with an air of frauds and deceptions. Self-interest was placed above public’s at the expense of state became a common practice.
2. Ji Kangzi’s question was essential of governance
As state leader, it is absolutely important for him to make sure the subjects are willing to earnestly follow government policies and loyal to the country. A state of reverent and faithful subjects will tend to encourage one another to follow laws and order, even in time of corrupted social climate. Reverence and faithfulness of the subjects are essential for policies implementation and positive social influences.
3. Confucius essentially explained the method of governance
Confucius told Ji Kangzi that those who presided over others shall treat the subjects with dignity (gravity) in solemn manners, then the subjects will respect the superiors in return. A leader should keep his words, self-demanding, and act as good example for others to follow; and especially in the practice of filial piety. He should be compassionate to all and kind to the young, as if they were family. Then, people will be faithful. Good people should be picked as models for the society. Let the less competent or less virtuous to learn from and influence by them. That’s, to promote those who are capable and teach those who are not, and they will eagerly seek to be virtuous. After all, good social atmosphere will be enhanced gradually in which people will encourage each other to do good and bring social order back to the right track.